Who pays for NZSL interpreter services?

This section discusses responsibility for paying for NZSL interpreters and funding support available in some situations.

Check if your organisation has a policy on booking and paying for NZSL interpreter services

Funding for NZSL interpreters is limited

How much will NZSL interpreters cost?

Check if your organisation has a policy on booking and paying for NZSL interpreter services

In general, the government agency that is hosting the meeting/event is responsible for paying the cost of the NZSL interpreters.

Before any booking is made, make sure you have the funds available to pay for the interpreters. You should also find out what your agency’s policy is for using and paying for interpreters (if there is one).

For government services where face-to-face appointments are required, like Work and Income or Inland Revenue, the provision of NZSL interpreters is a definite obligation of the government agency.

When more than one agency is involved with a booking, you should discuss who will cover the costs upfront and before any booking is made.

The NZSL Act 2006 urges government departments to increase accessibility of their services to Deaf people through the use of NZSL. Read more about the NZSL Act 2006 – Principles (Section 9) to guide government departments.

Funding for NZSL interpreters is limited

Assistance with funding to cover the cost of NZSL interpreter services may be available in some situations. You should make sure you find out in advance whether funding is available in your specific situation before making a booking.

  • If your department or agency has a contract with a particular interpreter booking agency, the contract may include some situations where the booking service does not charge for the interpreting service.
  • For example, iSign may cover the cost of interpreting at GP or other personal health-related visits by a Deaf person (via their contract with the Ministry of Health).
  • In some circumstances, when the Deaf person's reason for using your service is related to getting a job, training to be ready to get a job, or self-employment, the cost of the NZSL interpreter may be covered by a Workbridge Support Fund. This funding is attached to an individual disabled person.

Read more about Workbridge and Support Funds at http://www.workbridge.co.nz/?page=122

How much will NZSL interpreters cost?

There are no general set terms and conditions for NZSL interpreters. You should always request terms and conditions from the booking agency or freelance NZSL interpreter, so you know what contractual arrangement you are agreeing to before a booking is made.

Key things to look for in terms and conditions are:

  • the hourly rate
  • booking fee - in the case of a booking agency. In some cases booking agencies might not charge a separate fee but instead an increased hourly rate
  • minimum booking time - often set at two hours
  • preparation charges - for example, when a large public event is organised the NZSL interpreter may need to visit a venue prior to the event to check their position on stage, lighting and other factors; or a long meeting that has lots of information; or where there are numerous presenters at a conference with different topics. Interpreters will read and prepare material (PowerPoint slides, for example) made available prior to the event
  • travel costs - to get to the meeting or event
  • cancellation charges - payable where the appointment or event is cancelled within a certain time limit (often within 24 or 48 hours before the meeting/event).

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A guide to working with NZSL interpreters

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